The net may be tightening around fugitive Czech millionaire

Radovan Krejcir in the Seychelles, photo: Martin Dvorak, iDNES

The papers have been full of it - the fugitive Czech millionaire Radovan Krejcir sunning himself on a beach in the Seychelles, leaving five star hotels and posing jauntily for Czech reporters - safe in the knowledge that he has managed to escape the long arm of the law. The man is wanted for extensive fraud and conspiracy to murder and the Czech police and foreign ministry officials continue in their efforts to secure his extradition from the Seychelles. The fact that Mr. Krejcir acquired Seychelles citizenship allegedly for the price of 25,000 dollars in 1996 has somewhat complicated the process but new facts have come to light which might tip the scales against him.

Daniela Lazarova has been following the story. So Daniela -what's new?

Well, it was actually beginning to look as if Mr. Krejcir had planned his escape to perfection - he had acquired Seychelles citizenship and - according to Czech law had thus lost the right to Czech citizenship - so it seemed that he would remain under the protection of the Seychelles. However it has now come to light that when he escaped to the Seychelles - and he did so in fairly dramatic circumstances as the police were raiding his luxury villa - he went under a false passport. This could complicate his stay in the Seychelles and increase the chance of his extradition. He's been prosecuted as a fugitive here in the Czech Republic and the court has issued an international warrant for his arrest. So there is fresh hope now that he may not escape justice - but we'll have to wait and see.

We know that the case hinges on the fact that the Czech Republic and the Seychelles do not have an agreement on the extradition of suspected criminals and convicts but negotiations are underway with the Seychelles authorities to try and overcome that hurdle. How is the case regarded in the Seychelles?

Well actually it has caused more of a stir than you'd expect precisely because of the fact that a man who is regarded as a dangerous criminal in this country was able to buy Seychelles citizenship for the price of several thousand dollars. This was made possible under a scheme launched by the government of the Seychelles and the opposition is now up in arms about it. I spoke to Roger Mancienne of the Regar daily earlier today and here's what he had to say:

"The reason why we are very much concerned with the case is that we see that it arose out of a scheme which provided Seychelles citizenship to persons overseas who had no connection with the Seychelles. This was a very controversial scheme and the political party that I am associated with - an opposition party- was very much opposed to the scheme because it was obvious that citizenship was going to persons that we knew nothing about. Over the years a number of cases have arisen which have proved this point. The case of Mr. Krejcir is just more proof of the fact that the scheme was unjustifiable and badly thought out and we always saw it as a scheme that would do damage to the image of the Seychelles as a country that respected international norms and laws."